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5 Jun, 2018 18:26

Faux news? Fox News apologizes for using misleading photos of NFL players kneeling

Faux news? Fox News apologizes for using misleading photos of NFL players kneeling

On the day that President Trump canceled a White House event for Super Bowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles, Fox News has apologized for using misleading photos that claim to show the team kneeling for the national anthem.

Trump tweeted on Monday that the event had been canceled due to the fact that only a few of the Eagles’ players wanted to attend. He also proclaimed that “staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling.”

The same night, Fox News tweeted out a now deleted news bulletin featuring a montage of Eagles players kneeling. The players were not kneeling in protest, however, but in prayer, a mistake that was noticed straight away by Eagles tight end Zach Ertz.

Others weighed in to blast Fox News and Trump for racism and “propaganda.”

Fox News later apologized for the misleading photos on Tuesday.

“During our report about President Trump cancelling the Philadelphia Eagles trip to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl win, we showed unrelated footage of players kneeling in prayer,” read the statement from Fox executive producer Christopher Wallace.

None of the Philadelphia Eagles players took a knee for the national anthem during the 2017 season. However, many on the team have been outspoken in support of the protests and against Trump. Only 10 players reportedly planned on attending the White House event in the first place, with the rest turning down the president’s invitation in protest.

Former Eagles receiver Torrey Smith claimed that his teammates refused to go, not just because of the anthem issue, but as a wider protest against Trump’s policies. “The majority of people don’t want to see you,” he tweeted, addressing Trump. “To make it about the anthem is foolish.”

In a statement released on Monday, the Eagles thanked their fans for their support during the season without addressing the controversy regarding their visit to the White House.

Trump still plans to press on with a “different kind of ceremony” on Tuesday, “one that will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem,” according to a White House statement. The president will appear at the event along with the United States Marine Band and Army Chorus to “celebrate America.”

Torrey called Trump's statement an attempt “to spread the false narrative that players are anti military.”

After San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee in August 2016 in protest of alleged police brutality and racial injustice in the US, Trump repeatedly criticized the league bosses for tolerating such displays, which he dubbed as unpatriotic, calling on fans to boycott games and teams to fine kneeling players.

Trump’s comments, in turn, spawned further protests, but the NFL’s owners voted last month to implement a new policy that requires players to stand during the anthem next season or face a fine. Dissenting players can remain in the locker room if they wish.

Trump said that the NFL’s new policy was “the right thing,” but added that players who refuse to respect the anthem perhaps “shouldn’t be in the country.”

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